Because I get sidetracked either reading emails or responding to them, I've started setting our cooking timer to 20 minutes before I begin so I don't get lost in my inbox. It seems to be working-- first, I know I only have 20 minutes, so I'm much more quick in responding and second, I don't lose track of time because after 20 minutes there's this terrible alarm that scares the bejesus out of me when it hits (I really need to find a nice digital beep-beep, beep-beep, then the bells of hell shrieking in my ear.)
However, this works. I also do it with my blog-surfing--20 minutes to cruise through blogs, Poetry Daily, Facebook, write a quick blog entry, and then I'm done. I'm surprised how well it works.
I've always known I need about 40 minutes of playtime before writing. I like to complete tasks, respond to the emails I need to, look at my PalmPilot and see what's up with the day, then get to writing.
And I'm getting quicker. This morning, I've taken 16 minutes to type this, respond (and delete) emails and do a quick cruise through the blogworld. So when I return, I'm all set to sit down and write.
I've also been turning my email off during the day, as I'm like Pavlov's dog when I hear that little "bing" that a message arrives. I leave whatever I'm doing to see who dropped me a note.
So, if you're having trouble getting lost in the internet, email, or whatever your poison, I recommended THE TIMER! A little friend to say, "Hey writer, your time is passing, now move on to the words..." (2 minutes to spare, time to go...)